MPs approve Sh7 billion peace fund for KDF, warn of corruption in management

KDF soldiers attend a flag presentation ceremony by President William Ruto before they deploy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the East Africa Community Regional Force (EARDC) at the Embakasi Garrison in Nairobi on November 2, 2022.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will have its own special fund kitty to cater for its pace operations after MPs approved the Public Finance Management (National Peace Support Operations Fund) Regulations 2023.

The Sh7 billion special kitty which will be de-linked from the accounts of the Ministry of Defence budget will see the government pump in Sh1 billion into it with Sh6 billion expected from the United Nations peace operations support missions.

The fund shall be used for financing and maintaining of contingent owned equipment and other assets, financing the establishment of equipment parks as approved by the Defence Council for PSO, financing enhancement of units to attain appropriate levels at the United Nations peacekeeping capability readiness system, funding force generation and force projection activities.

The National Assembly committee on Delegated Legislation in its report approved formation of the special fund saying it will strengthen KDF in its peacekeeping missions.

“Having examined the Public Finance Management (National Peace Support Operations Fund) Regulations, 2023 in accordance with the constitution, the interpretations and General Provisions Act, the Statutory Instruments Act, the committee recommends that the House approves the Public Finance Management (National Peace support operations) Regulations, 2023,” reads the committee report.

The committee said the fund shall be critical in financing the maintenance of the Contingent Owned Equipment and other assets as well as enhance KDF’s capability to attain the appropriate levels of preparedness that meets the United Nations peacekeeping capability standards.

The committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga said KDF has previously suffered in securing adequate funds while going for peacekeeping missions.

“It has been difficult for the Ministry of Defence to support peace missions because the money has to be appropriated by Parliament since it is drawn from the consolidated fund,” Mr Chepkonga said.

He however noted that despite KDF having access to the fund any time, it will however be audited by the Auditor General each financial year just like other special funds such as the Youth Enterprise Fund.

Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa said having the money in the Ministry of Defence accounts as has been the case has disadvantaged KDF when it seeks to participate in peace operations.

“When the money is in the consolidated fund, it may go to other activities such as repayment of debts. So it’s important to have it in a separate account so that they can access it easily .Not doing capacity building, participate in peace missions,” Mr Ichung’wa said.

However, Minority Whip Junet Mohamed opposed creation of the fund saying the Kenya Kwanza is creating many special funds.  

“Every small thing we want to do in this country, we are creating a fund for it, and it’s dangerous. Peace keeping missions didn’t start yesterday, when you see specific ones being created, then just know that there are specific people targeting that fund,” Mr Mohamed said.

“There has never been any misappropriation of funds from the ministry of Defence hence they should be allowed to operate the funds as has been the case,” he added.

The National Security council meeting held on 5th August, 2020 approved the establishment of the fund

According to the council, the fund would be self- sustaining, receiving revenue from the United Nations, and African Union reimbursement for peace support operation activities

The lawmakers argued that despite Kenya’s long history of participation in peace support operations, the country has not taken the advantage of the activities it has participated in to leverage itself in the regional and integration peace activities.

“Our effective participation in Peace Support Operations (PSO) has been hampered by various factors including inadequate funding for PSO on the acquisition of standard military equipment,” reads the report.

Over the years, the PSO funding has been factored in the ministry of defence budget. This results in inadequate allocations and budgetary cuts that affect the ability to effectively participate in PSOs.